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lunes, 30 de enero de 2012

James Franco Gets Student Complaints On New Webseries


It has already happened with TV shows from Seaside Heights (USA), Newcastle (England), and will most likely continue with Liverpool (England), but the ‘party reality TV’ genre is now taking off in new directions, as Hollywood actor James Franco prepares to launch a new web-only series that could have a negative impact on the reputation of the University of Southern California (USA).

The project, entitled Undergrads, has been created in an effort by the 127 Hours star to portray a no-holds-barred, yet ‘honest’ view of student life at USC, but ahead of the first episode on Thursday (airing on jamesfrancotv.com), members of the university have been complaining that it is not an accurate portrayal of life at the school.

In what a news reporter described as ‘Jersey Shore on steroids’, the series, which will be run over a number of weekly episodes, will feature the ongoing stories of several featured undergraduate students (filmed in 2010) as they live their lives away from the lecture halls.

While the online-only production is unlikely to reach anywhere near the popularity of MTV’s hit, Undergrads could have the potential to end up producing a new breed of minor celebrities that get famous with no talent, which would be a notable breakthrough for the world of online TV, and a plausible one with the backing of a big-name actor in charge of the show. 33-year-old Franco is believed to be hoping to then sell the series on to TV networks such as HBO or FX, should the web run prove successful.

Travis Newhouse, a USC student studying ‘junior cinematic arts’ said of the preview episode that he watched: ”I can’t help but laugh and be disgusted at the same time. It’s irresponsible.”

Controversies from the first episode are said to include a featured student listing ‘play Twister on the quad’ on his personal ‘bucket list’, and a group of party-goers that refuse to invite a number of girls with them for being ‘too fat’, both allegedly highlighting an ‘inaccurate’ shallowness of the student population.

Some students at USC are currently leading campaigns for members of the school to boycott the series until it can be ‘shut down’ by the university’s officials, but that is an outcome very unlikely to occur, due to the fact that the content was filmed off-campus and of individuals.

James Franco’s manager Miles Levy, who is a co-producer for Undergrads, defended the format, stating: “What we wanted to have happen was to try to do a show about what really happens in college, and not Melrose Place [or] 90210.”

With the ‘controversy’ story probably giving the series a well-timed publicity boost just before its first broadcast, will the Undergrads soon have reason to celebrate with big online ratings?

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